Where the Science of Psychology Meets the Art of Being Human

When Someone You Love has an Addiction

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When Someone You Love Has an Addiction

The fallout from an addiction, for addicts and the people who love them, is devastating – the manipulations, the guilt, the destruction of relationships and the breakage of people. When addicts know they are loved by someone who is invested in them, they immediately have fuel for their addiction. Your love and your need to bring them safely through their addiction might see you giving money you can’t afford, saying yes when that yes will destroy you, lying to protect them, and having your body turn cold with fear from the midnight ring of the phone. You dread seeing them and you need to see them, all at once. 

You might stop liking them, but you don’t stop loving them. If you’re waiting for the addict to stop the insanity – the guilt trips, the lying, the manipulation – it’s not going to happen. If you can’t say no to the manipulations of their addiction in your unaddicted state, know that they won’t say no from their addicted one. Not because they won’t, but because they can’t. 

If you love an addict, it will be a long and excruciating road before you realise that there is absolutely nothing you can do. It will come when you’re exhausted, heartbroken, and when you feel the pain of their self-destruction pressing relentlessly and permanently against you. The relationships and the world around you will start to break, and you’ll cut yourself on the jagged pieces.  That’s when you’ll know, from the deepest and purest part of you, that you just can’t live like this any more.  

I’ve worked with plenty of addicts, but the words in this post come from loving one. I have someone in my life who has been addicted to various substances. It’s been heartbreaking to watch. It’s been even more heartbreaking to watch the effect on the people I love who are closer to him than I am.

I would be lying if I said that my compassion has been undying. It hasn’t. It’s been exhausted and stripped back to bare. I feel regularly as though I have nothing left to give him. What I’ve learned, after many years, is that there is absolutely nothing anyone can do to change him. With all of our combined wisdom, strength, love and unfailing will to make things better for him, there is nothing we can do. 

I realised a while ago that I couldn’t ride in the passenger seat with someone at the wheel who was on such a relentless path to self-destruction. It’s taken many years, a lot of sadness, and a lot of collateral damage to people, relationships and lives outside of his.

What I do know is that when he is ready to change direction, I’ll be there, with love, compassion and a fierce commitment to stand beside him in whatever way he needs to support his recovery. He will have an army of people behind him and beside him when he makes the decision, but until then, I and others who love him are powerless. I know that.

Nobody intends for a behaviour to become an addiction, and if you are someone who loves an addict – whether it’s a parent, child, partner, friend, sibling – the guilt, the shame and the helplessness can be overwhelming. 

Addiction is not a disease of character, personality, spirit or circumstance. It can happen to anyone. It’s a human condition with human consequences, and being that we’re all human, we’re all vulnerable. Addicts can come from any life and from any family. It’s likely that in our lifetime, if we don’t love someone with an addiction, we’ll know someone who does, so this is an important conversation to have, for all of us. 

The problem with loving an addict is that sometimes the things that will help them are the things that would seem hurtful, cold and cruel if they were done in response to non-addicts. Often, the best ways to respond to an addict have the breathtaking capacity to drown those who love them with guilt, grief, self-doubt and of course, resistance.

Loving an addict in any capacity can be one of the loneliest places in the world. It’s easy to feel judged for withdrawing support for the addict, but eventually, this becomes the only possible response. Unless someone has been in battle armour beside you, fighting the fight, being brought to their knees, with their heart-broken and their will tested, it’s not for them to judge. 

The more we can talk about openly about addiction, the more we can lift the shame, guilt, grief and unyielding self-doubt that often stands in the way of being able to respond to an addict in a way that supports their healing, rather than their addiction. It’s by talking that we give each other permission to feel what we feel, love who we love, and be who we are, with the vulnerabilities, frayed edges, courage and wisdom that are all a part of being human.

When Someone You Love is an Addict.

  1. You’re dealing with someone different now. 

    When an addiction takes hold, the person you love disappears, at least until the addiction loosens its grip. The person you love is still in there somewhere, but that’s not who you’re dealing with. The person you remember may have been warm, funny, generous, wise, strong – so many wonderful things – but addiction changes people. It takes a while to adjust to this reality and it’s very normal to respond to the addicted person as though he or she is the person you remember. This is what makes it so easy to fall for the manipulations, the lies and the betrayal – over and over. You’re responding to the person you remember – but this is not that person. The sooner you’re able to accept this, the sooner you can start working for the person you love and remember, which will mean doing what sometimes feels cruel, and always heartbreaking, so the addiction is starved of the power to keep that person away. The person you love is in there – support that person, not the addict in front of you. The sooner you’re able to stop falling for the manipulations, lies, shame and guilt that feeds their addiction, the more likely it will be that the person you remember will be able to find the way back to you.

  2. Don’t expect them to be on your logic.

    When an addiction takes hold, the person’s reality becomes distorted by that addiction. Understand that you can’t reason with them or talk them into seeing things the way you do. For them, their lies don’t feel like lies. Their betrayal doesn’t feel like betrayal. Their self-destruction doesn’t always feel like self-destruction. It feels like survival. Change will come when there is absolutely no other option but to change, not when you’re able to find the switch by giving them enough information or logic.

  3. When you’re protecting them from their own pain, you’re standing in the way of their reason to stop.

    Addicts will do anything to feed their addiction because when the addiction isn’t there, the emotional pain that fills the space is greater. People will only change when what they are doing causes them enough pain, that changing is a better option than staying the same. That’s not just for addicts, that’s for all of us. We often avoid change – relationships, jobs, habits – until we’ve felt enough discomfort with the old situation, to open up to a different option.

    Change happens when the force for change is greater than the force to stay the same. Until the pain of the addiction outweighs the emotional pain that drives the addiction, there will be no change. 

    When you do something that makes their addictive behaviour easier, or protects them from the pain of their addiction – perhaps by loaning them money, lying for them, driving them around – you’re stopping them from reaching the point where they feel enough pain that letting go of the addiction is a better option. Don’t minimise the addiction, ignore it, make excuses for it or cover it up. Love them, but don’t stand in the way of their healing by protecting them from the pain of their addiction. 

  4. There’s a different way to love an addict.

    When you love them the way you loved them before the addiction, you can end up supporting the addiction, not the person. Strong boundaries are important for both of you. The boundaries you once had might find you innocently doing things that make it easier for the addiction to continue. It’s okay to say no to things you might have once agreed to – in fact, it’s vital – and is often one of the most loving things you can do. If it’s difficult, have an anchor – a phrase or an image to remind you of why your ‘no’ is so important. If you feel as though saying no puts you in danger, the addiction has firmly embedded itself into the life of the person you love. In these circumstances, be open to the possibility that you may need professional support to help you to stay safe, perhaps by stopping contact. Keeping a distance between you both is no reflection on how much love and commitment you feel to the person, and all about keeping you both safe.

  5. Your boundaries – they’re important for both of you.

    If you love an addict, your boundaries will often have to be stronger and higher than they are with other people in your life. It’s easy to feel shame and guilt around this, but know that your boundaries are important because they’ll be working hard for both of you. Setting boundaries will help you to see things more clearly from all angles because you won’t be as blinded by the mess or as willing to see things through the addict’s eyes – a view that often involves entitlement, hopelessness, and believing in the validity of his or her manipulative behaviour. Set your boundaries lovingly and as often as you need to. Be clear about the consequences of violating the boundaries and make sure you follow through, otherwise it’s confusing for the addict and unfair for everyone. Pretending that your boundaries aren’t important will see the addict’s behaviour get worse as your boundaries get thinner. In the end this will only hurt both of you.

  6. You can’t fix them, and it’s important for everyone that you stop trying.

    The addict and what they do are completely beyond your control. They always will be. An addiction is all-consuming and it distorts reality. Know the difference between what you can change (you, the way you think, the things you do) and what you can’t change (anyone else). There will be a strength that comes from this, but believing this will take time, and that’s okay. If you love someone who has an addiction, know that their stopping isn’t just a matter of wanting to. Let go of needing to fix them or change them and release them with love, for your sake and for theirs.

  7. See the reality.

    When fear becomes overwhelming, denial is a really normal way to protect yourself from a painful reality. It’s easier to pretend that everything is okay, but this will only allow the addictive behaviour to bury itself in deeper. Take notice if you are being asked to provide money, emotional resources, time, babysitting – anything more than feels comfortable. Take notice also of the  feeling, however faint, that something isn’t right. Feelings are powerful, and will generally try to alert us when something isn’t right, long before our minds are willing to listen. 

  8. Don’t do things that keep their addiction alive.

    When you love an addict all sorts of boundaries and conventions get blurred. Know the difference between helping and enabling. Helping takes into account the long-term effects, benefits and consequences. Enabling is about providing immediate relief, and overlooks the long-term damage that might come with that short-term relief. Providing money, accommodation, dropping healthy boundaries to accommodate the addict – these are all completely understandable when it comes to looking after someone you love, but with someone who has an addiction, it’s helping to keep the addiction alive. 

    Ordinarily, it’s normal to help out the people we love when they need it, but there’s a difference between helping and enabling. Helping supports the person. Enabling supports the addiction. 

    Be as honest as you can about the impact of your choices. This is so difficult – I know how difficult this is, but when you change what you do, the addict will also have to change what he or she does to accommodate those changes. This will most likely spin you into guilt, but let the addicted one know that when he or she decides to do things differently, you’ll be the first one there and your arms will be open, and that you love them as much as you ever have. You will likely hear that you’re not believed, but this is designed to refuel your enabling behaviour. Receive what they are saying, be saddened by it and feel guilty if you want to – but for their sake, don’t change your decision.

  9. Don’t buy into their view of themselves.

    Addicts will believe with every part of their being that they can’t exist without their addiction. Don’t buy into it. They can be whole without their addiction but they won’t believe it, so you’ll have to believe it enough for both of you. You might have to accept that they aren’t ready to move towards that yet, and that’s okay, but in the meantime don’t actively support their view of themselves as having no option but to surrender fully to their addiction. Every time you do something that supports their addiction, you’re communicating your lack of faith in their capacity to live without it. Let that be an anchor that keeps your boundaries strong. 

  10. When you stand your ground, things might get worse before they get better.

    The more you allow yourself to be manipulated, the more you will be manipulated. When you stand your ground and stop giving in to the manipulation, the maniplulation may get worse before it stops. When something that has always worked stops working, it’s human nature to do it more. Don’t give into to the lying, blaming or guilt-tripping. They may withdraw, rage, become deeply sad or develop pain or illness. They’ll stop when they realise your resolve, but you’ll need to be the first one to decide that what they’re doing won’t work any more.

  11. You and self-love. It’s a necessity. 

    In the same way that it’s the addict’s responsibility to identify their needs and meet them in safe and fulfilling ways, it’s also your responsibility to identify and meet your own. Otherwise you will be drained and damaged – emotionally, physically and spiritually, and that’s not good for anyone.

  12. What are you getting out of it?

    This is such a hard question, and will take an open, brave heart to explore it. Addicts use addictive behaviours to stop from feeling pain. Understandably, the people who love them often use enabling behaviours to also stop from feeling pain. Loving an addict is heartbreaking. Helping the person can be a way to ease your own pain and can feel like a way to extend love to someone you’re desperate to reach. It can also be a way to compensate for the bad feelings you might feel towards the person for the pain they cause you. This is all really normal, but it’s important to explore how you might be unwittingly contributing to the problem. Be honest, and be ready for difficult things to come up. Do it with a trusted person or a counsellor if you need the support. It might be one of the most important things you can do for the addict. Think about what you imagine will happen if you stop doing what you’re doing for them. Then think about what will happen if you don’t. What you’re doing might save the person in the short-term, but the more intense the addictive behaviour, the more destructive the ultimate consequences of that behaviour if it’s allowed to continue. You can’t stop it continuing, but you can stop contributing to it. Be willing to look at what you’re doing with an open heart, and be brave enough to challenge yourself on whatever you might be doing that’s keeping the addiction alive. The easier you make it for them to maintain their addiction, the easier it is for them to maintain their addiction. It’s as simple, and as complicated, as that.

  13. What changes do you need to make in your own life?

    Focusing on an addict is likely to mean that the focus on your own life has been turned down – a lot. Sometimes, focusing on the addict is a way to avoid the pain of dealing with other issues that have the capacity to hurt you. When you explore this, be kind to yourself, otherwise the temptation will be to continue to blunt the reality. Be brave, and be gentle and rebuild your sense of self, your boundaries and your life. You can’t expect the addict in your life to deal with their issues, heal, and make the immensely brave move towards building a healthy life if you are unwilling to do that for yourself.

  14. Don’t blame the addict.

    The addict might deserve a lot of the blame, but blame will keep you angry, hurt and powerless. Addiction is already heavily steeped in shame. It’s the fuel that started it and it’s the fuel that will keep it going. Be careful you’re not contributing to keeping the shame fire lit.

  15. Be patient.

    Go for progress, not perfection. There will be forward steps and plenty of backward ones too.  Don’t see a backward step as failure. It’s not. Recovery never happens in a neat forward line and backward steps are all part of the process.

  16. Sometimes the only choice is to let go.

    Sometimes all the love in the world isn’t enough. Loving someone with an addiction can tear at the seams of your soul. It can feel that painful. If you’ve never been through it, letting go of someone you love deeply, might seem unfathomable but if you’re nearing that point, you’ll know the desperation and the depth of raw pain that can drive such an impossible decision. If you need to let go, know that this is okay. Sometimes it’s the only option. Letting go of someone doesn’t mean you stop loving them – it never means that. You can still leave the way open if you want to. Even at their most desperate, most ruined, most pitiful point, let them know that you believe in them and that you’ll be there when they’re ready to do something different. This will leave the way open, but will put the responsibility for their healing in their hands, which is the only place for it to be.

And finally …

Let them know that you love them and have always loved them – whether they believe it or not. Saying it is as much for you as it is for them. 

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210 Comments

EMMALOU

My husband of 43 years is a Vietnam vet. who has PTSD with substance abuse. He just came home this morning after a 3 day binder with drugs. While he’s gone there is no contact form him. I worry that people are taking advantage of him because he uses his social security to buy for everyone. Is he okay? Are they abusing him? He’s 69 and the people he hangs with are all in their 40’s or younger, men and women. I also worry if something happens to him while high, will they call for help, or just leave him. If they have no place to get high, he’ll pay for a motel room. So sad.
I’m torn because of the PTSD .

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Dawn M F

Thank you for your post. I know understand the manipulation, shame and even anger comes from. I am so mad at myself for not being strong enough to say no and to stand for better. I want it. I have cried, prayed and got angry at my love one because no matter what I say or do he is not stopping.. I am tired and angry and want to walk away, but I care deeply for him. But again I am frustrated and tired. #atmywitsend

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Leslie

I never, ever gave up on him. But I did see him less: once or twice a week instead of being at his beck and call. At some point I realized he didn’t really want see me, he just wanted me to bring him something he could sell for drugs. He used to call saying he needed smokes or a coffee card and I would hop in my car and drive to the inner city to deliver it to him. I would say ‘how about I take you to Starbucks for a fact coffee?’ And he would say ‘I have to meet a friend.’ Sometimes we did have that coffee but often I was just a delivery person. Early on I would give him $20-$40 but he would often call me within an hour or two begging for more money saying he owed a friend. Eventually I realized he might OD and I might have paid for the lethal dose. I knew I couldn’t live with myself so stopped except for the odd $1-$2. In the end he overdosed the day he picked up his government cheque. I loved my grandson SO much but just couldn’t help him as he didn’t want to get better. Now I go to his grave often….sometimes crying and telling him I am so very sorry I couldn’t help him. Other times I sit there and tell him ‘you are safe now and at least I know where you are.’

I feel so sad for you and everyone who has a loved one with addiction. All I can say is although I have great guilt, it is bearable because I never totally gave up on him. But had he lived, I may not have been able to stand by him forever.

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Lee

Good Day EMMALOU

I know that feeling my husband went to a rehab came back and few days after disappeared again I moved out for 2 weeks and went back after he promised he wont leave again and there again yesterday he left and not back home and same here no contact what so ever

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Bree W

It’s true that when your loved one become an addict, the person whom you once knew will disappear because their behavior will be altered by the effects of drugs. I like how you provided a guide to people who have drug addict loved ones. I think your article will be very helpful to those who are having a hard time dealing with their addict family members, friends, spouses, etc. I think it’s also best to seek professional help and treatment for their fast recovery.

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InTherehab.com

Addiction can seem hopeless. If you can take the time to reassure your loved one that things will get better, you can have a huge impact on their life. Addiction is often painful and simply reminding them that things don’t have to remain bad can be helpful and motivating. Tell them there’s a better way to live if they will accept help.

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Karen

Thanks for this article. I’m going through the exact thing and struggling. Appreciate the information.

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Terry

My husband is 42 and a meth addict since he was a youngster. We have been married 8yrs and at the time of meeting him I had no clue that he was,all I know is he was my dream guy,my soulmate. As a kid my brother and i was shielded from people doing immoral and illegal things,hence we dont really know my dads side of the family. A year into the marriage I found out the cruel secret of him using and my world came crashing down and being 7mnths pregnant.Our marriage has been a roller coaster ever since,what i also realised is that I have no remorse for addicts (never believing it will ever happen to me) but i love this man so its unbelievable that I still do. We at war with each other constantly,but find myself hating him at the same time praying for him to just die,and our kids think hs a super hero and no nothing of his addiction and I want it to stay that way. Iv recently decided to divorce him as I can’t deal or have no idea on how to handle the situation,if I confront him of his behavior and addiction h becomes very proud of his behavior and sais as long as h doesnt hurt anyone. HELLLLO!!!!..u hurting me ur wife,ur kids,ur brothers ur sisters who cut themselves away from him and left me alone with him and his horrible ways. Honestly speaking when hs high h becomes my dream man,the person I fell inlove with and today all make sence,the person I fell inlove with was as high as a kite,its funny how things fall into place once the truth is revealed. I’m scared that if I do leave him he that he will loose himself,I’ll constantly worry is he okay?has he eaten?is he safe?has he got a bed to sleep on or where is he sleeping tonight.Iv put him out so many times only to return after a few hours and I say nothing I allow him in bathe,feed him,spoil him with think he likes(has a sweet tooth)all because I feel bad of what I said to him. And now I’m fed up with this.I need it to stop.My tears are all dried up I want my pain to end.

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Diane H

Did you break it off. I’m so stressed about all this. He makes promises and does it all over. I think I need to end it

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Heidi

It was so hard to get through this without snot bubbling out of my nose and gasping for air! My mother is an addict, my father is an addict, my only sibling is an addict, my ex is an addict and I’m so absolutely DONE with the idea that I can do this for one more minute! I’m so tired! I’m so alone! I’m so isolated! I’m so MAD! This ends with me! I will NO longer allow my child to see me cater to these humans who treat me &HER like second class peons while they use guilt and manipulation to bury me! I’m DONE and I THaNK you got giving me permission, which I should never have to have, to cut the cord! I have never felt so sick to my stomach with remorse in trying to LOVE my own family as I do at this moment. Thank you for writing this. There IS NOTHING I CAN DO! It makes me feel so weak to say that! So sick to say that. So FREE to say that!

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Jackie

(PREPARE FOR A LIFE STORY that is somewhat RATED R) I don’t know what’s wrong with me. All my I Life all I’ve had are these long & lasting relationships with someone I fall in Love with, who really turns out is has been a closeted Addict. I don’t know why I put up with all of it, when it always ends up ruining My Life. I spent 5 years with someone who I thought grew out of all that & who wanted to marry me. Instead he would put whatever drugs he could get his hands on Above me. I paid for everything, he never worked during our whole relationship.Then he got me fired from my job. That I worked 11 years at.He took everything from me.I couldn’t turn to anyone cause I was too embarrassed to Admit it all..For years I was in a deep depression & anxiety ridden. He mentally and even sometimes physically abused me. But I had finally had Enough. At the end he stole everything that had value from me. Harassed my Life. Stalked me. Spreader Lies about me to anyone who would listen. I ended up turning to someone else that I had grown up with and he helped me through it all. I thought he was my guardian Angel. He told me I didn’t deserve to be treated that way & that he was going to take me away from all of that. We then ended up moving in together since My only other option was moving far away with my Family. My depression subsided and he would make me smile Every day. He promised me the World & An Amazing Future Together. Every one we knew was so Happy For Us because they saw How Happy we were Together. He put me on a pedestal an IT felt Amazing. I knew he had past drug issues but he promised me he he was away from all that and had been clean for Years. Only to find out he’s another closeted Addict, but this time it was Dope. I felt totally deceived and beyond Embarrassed that I had been fooled again. So once again I put myself through all these trials and tribulations only to have him put me back in Extreme Depression. Having to deal with him going away for 6 months & supporting him with all the money I had. That I was Never Even Paid Back For. I stayed because I thought with him going away it would help him with staying clean. 2 weeks later he used. He probably even did it earlier then that. I even tried helping him get clean by letting him borrow money to help pay off his truck. I knew it was stressing him out everything month. So of course when he’s stressed like that he will Use. That didn’t Work. Then the truck Needed New Tires and He borrowed even more money from me pay because I didn’t want him getting into an accident. Months later he side swipes a car while he’s fucked up. Then one day borrows his moms car to go pick up dope and someone cuts him off and he ends up totaling his mom car & crashes it into a wall. Comes Home gets Beyond Fucked Up (mind you his Aunt & his mother is staying at our Apartment) Almost Overdoses. But didn’t because we had Narcan Spray that I had to give him. Gets mad because we ruined his High. Still it doesn’t Even Faze Him that he Almost died twice in 1day. This is what he uses to play the VICTIM every time he does something Wrong. Which is All The Time. Days later he’s High Again. It because a common occurrence that he will work All week. Then spends the weekend High which then he has to call out of work for because now he has to recover. Mind you he has a Boss that deals with all of this While paying him Good Money. But he Think he deserves more. Not even considering All the Shit he puts his Boss through by calling out every Other Week. He just doesn’t care because this Addiction totally has a hold on him. He then starts Borrowing all my money every time I get paid to pay off All his Dealers. Because then if I don’t he Freaks out Because they start showing up at Our House that we rent from our Landlord that lives downstairs. He continues to Never Pay me back & if he does he just ends up Borrowing it back days later. Mind you I’m on a Fixed Income & He gets paid Good Money which I never see since we Never Go Anywhere. At this point all I am is an ATM machine which he ends up screwing over constantly. Meaning getting High right before my Mother (who I might get to see once a year because she lives far away)came to visit. Nodding off throughout dinner and then spending half the time in the bathroom. Months after He yet again borrowed all the money I had before my Only Little Sisters wedding. Which was in another state..Even stealing my ATM card right before I left. He took out my last $100 dollars that I needed to pay a bill. But acted like it wasn’t a big deal because he got it back to me the Next Day from “ His Mommy.” I even told her about it & she did Nothing. So yet again I have to embarrass myself by having to ask other FamilyMembers to borrow money. Since I had a million things to do to prepare to be my Sisters Maid of Honor. Which I was beyond Happy about since I don’t have Any Life Anymore & it made me Feel Like Myself Again. Only to be letdown again when he ended up not coming with me & stiffing me with a $200 cancellation fee for our Hotel. Mind you we had been planning this for Months. Finally I get away for awhile to go to her wedding & see my family on the day of my Birthday. That he and every one else forgot because all that was going on. He called me now & then, but I Always had to be the one that initiated it. No Sweet Texts even to tell me he even missed or cared about me. Then to my surprise he calls me the morning of my sisters wedding. Which I was thinking was sweet and he wanted to get to talk before I had to get ready for her wedding. Instead he didn’t even know it was her wedding and was calling to ask for money to get his truck towed. Basically begging me and would not stop calling. He even threatened to call my own FATHER on his daughters wedding day to ask him to borrow the money. I then broke down and sent it to his account which was closed so he couldn’t get it but it took it out of my account anyways. I then money grammed it & it finally went through. So yet again my $260 going to god knows what…. He said Sorry but it meant Nothing to me. He yet again ruined something important to me. I was beyond heated because he knew I had NO money to do all this. Since I had to pay every one back and then also give my sister a check for her wedding present. Then to destroy me even more while I was trying spend time with my Family he decided to deposit a rent check I had left that was only to be used if I had the money which I didn’t. I even told him this before I left which of course he “forgot “. I didn’t even fill out an amount because of this. Plus he Promised to send me money which Never Happened. I also thought since I sent home $260 the morning of her wedding that he would know I was Now Broke since I told him that a million times.Because of all of this Now my Sisters Check for her wedding was going to Bounce. He promised to get it to me back the next day but that Never Happened & he then basically Ghosted me the rest of my trip. Didn’t even attempt to see if I was ok since I just went through Ultimate Humiliation. Not to mention I was already dealing with that since my Little sister got married before me . On top of me being close to 40 with No Husband, or Children. Basically at this point No Future and about to loose all the things I had thought I would have at this time. He’s destroying all my dreams of ever being married and becoming a Mother. Which is all I ever wanted in Life. I give my All constantly to try to Help Him when he’s only been to 2 AA meetings during Our Whole relationship. Which is now going on 4 Years.
I don’t know what to do Anymore Every thing I had he either took from me or destroyed. I am beyond Embarrassed to even tell my Family & having to once again start my Life Over. Since this is not the first time this has happened to me. I Love Him So Much and he’s slowly killing me & he could care less.

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LAURIE

Excellent Article. Husband struggling to let go of middle aged daughter who is addict. Finally, he’s able to take off love goggles, but guilt is overwhelming him. This article sheds light for me to help him understand enabling her has hurt us and she needs to be uncomfortable in order to change herself. Thank you!

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Olivia

I have been going through a really bad time with the man I love because he is secretly using drugs and alcohol on his own and I was in denial untill I read your article, I have been trapped inside myself with fear of not knowing what to say or do due to my fear of him leaving me but I have just realized after reading this that he has already left me for his new love which is his addiction please don’t take me up wrong anyone out there reading this and think I’m cruel or mean as I’m not I’m truly heart broken I’m crying as I write this as I do believe in this man with all my mind and love but now I know from reading this what I need to do is step back and see if he will find his way back to me which I prayer to God and Jesus he will and anyone else out there in similar situations. Thank you for your article it has very much helped me

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Anonymous

This was beautifully written. I’ve recently broken up with my partner, he is an alcoholic but I still love him immensely. I will be printing this article and highlighting many points made. Thank you for putting my grief, hurt, loss and pain into words. I have felt tremendously confused and angry – the mind in utter chaos – this gives me some relief.

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K

This post has hit all the emotions and concerns I have in my relationship. It has made me feel I am not alone when I have felt very alone. I cannot go to family and friends anymore for support because they don’t support the abuse I have been given by the person I love and fight hard for to help, this is why I resorted to the internet and I found this article. It is almost as if I have written my own problems and your article has reassured my feelings and struggles. What hit me the hardest was the last point of saying sometimes the only thing left is to let go. Fighting for this person has slowly isolated me from everyone I know, and is breaking me down . Im holding onto the person I met and fell in love with who is still in there some days, but those days are becoming less and less. Reading this article has brought me clarity to my on going struggle with my loved one. You have helped me a lot with this article . Thank you

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M

I’m 24 years old and I’ve been with my boyfriend since I was 18. We have been bestfriends since we were 13. He is an anchor in my life, and a drug addict. He has had a complicated relationship with drugs for almost our entire relationship but it only gets worse. We have broken up over his drug use many times, but I always come crawling back to him. I use his addiction as an excuse for why MY life isn’t the way I want it to be. My energy goes to him, and then the energy is wasted. I can’t do it anymore but when we break up he gets even worse. I feel so out of control, heartbroken, tearful, and sometimes at fault for his pain. This article was very helpful for me. I hate drugs so much. I love him so much. But I love myself and I know the life that I want and it doesn’t involve my future children feeling any of the pain that I feel. I just wish things could be different but it’s not up to me. I don’t know why I’ve written this but here it is.

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Jay

You’re not alone girl. From time to time I cry about it so much, but like I said you’re not alone. I think that what’s getting me to see things differently is by thinking about the fact that I could be cause of her overdose if she relapses. She’ll be out of jail next week and I’m scared I’m being hopefully but today as I was driving I cried so much thinking about the painful memories, my girl thinks it won’t happen again but she doesn’t know how deep the pain is when she’s lost in her addiction. I’m praying girl.. but you know now that she’s been in jail I’ve been taking care of myself way more and I’m only praying this helps when she gets out. I’m praying it helps me say no. But know you’re not alone, everything in this article is so true

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Melissa

Right there with you. Falling in love with an addict has been the hardest fight of my life and I’m 45 years old. He was high when I met him but I had no idea he had lived this lifestyle for 20 years…in and out of rehabs, jail, prison but thought he would change for me. I was such a fool. Now I’m dealing with heartbreak and it sucks.

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Jay

Thank you. This helped a lot a lot. I’m struggling to find out if I should hold on or if I should let go, my girlfriend has been gone for a couple months in jail and she’s finally coming home. Her mom is an addict so Im letting her stay with me till we figure something out. She refused to go to some kind of half way house that would help her with her substance use so that already worries me. I lose so much sleep over this. I’m so scared. Like a lot. I have to trust God tho. She’s my everything and she knows I love her but I feel like I have ptsd from all the pain I went back through when she was on drugs. She said doesn’t want it to happen again and will go to one NA class with me a week but I’m so scared. I lose sleep and appetite over it. I hate drugs and sometimes I hate her mom. This pain is unbearable, but it’s a good feeling knowing I’m not alone because sometimes I feel like I’m crazy still wanting to be with her. But knowing that my behaviors enable her will help me with the boundaries, knowing that they will help her. I love j t so much more than I’ve loved anyone, but I’ll keep praying.. I don’t wanna let her go, I don’t want her to think she’s alone but I’m scared she’s going to feel like I’m betraying her. I’ll keep praying. Thank you.

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Jim T

Reading this article has been very helpful it describes me my addicted son my family in a way that will give me the strength to stop enabling I can’t believe how obviously painful what my son is going through but I have been fueling it .
My addiction has been the love I have for him my sorrow is that I never realized how much fuel I have given him.
Thank You

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Sonia

I met my ex partner 4 years ago. He is a meth addict. I have been in absolute pain and grief and disbelieve and confusion for the last year. With manipulations and lies I kept by his side, trying to help, trying to fix him when he wasn’t ready to get healthy…Your article is spot on. He needs to WANT to get healthy, to make the change. I can’t do it for him. No one can. The guilt you feel is soo painful when you leave them, but I know it is what I need to do now, I need to take care of myself as I have lost ME. I love him, and I told him, but I need to let go until I am convinced inside my guts he is really willing to give life a chance.
Thank you for your words. It feels good to read these things and know that there are others going through the same thing.
Wish you all happy days to come!

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In Love With an Addict

I am in love with an addict. He is an alcoholic and addicted to pot. We have had our issues before, but lately it has been out of control. In January, all of a sudden he started treating me really mean. He goes into these fits of rages and I don’t know why. This has been happening during our entire 9 year relationship. Sometimes when he drinks and/or smokes pot, he is fine, just drunk and/or stoned. But sometimes it’s like there’s this switch that flips and he becomes nasty, hurtful and mean. He doesn’t even look like the man I love-he looks demonic. And he screams. So loud the neighbors can hear. He calls me all kinds of names, makes up things that I didn’t do or say, says I blame him for things I haven’t blamed him for, and picks a subject and just won’t let go of it.

We have been living apart since June, and I told him I wanted to work on our relationship. that he and it meant so much to me. I have given up on my dreams for him, because he doesn’t like them. We seemed to be doing fine, just baby steps, then last night he started in, this time in public, and by the time I got him to where he was staying (a “friend” that he feeds off of, they both keep each other in pot and alcohol) he was in a full on screaming match. He left his cell phone in my truck and came by this morning to get it and he was still raging mad. Said I started the argument (I did not) and that he couldn’t live like this anymore. He didn’t want to listen to anything I had to say, and completely rejected my pleas for understanding.

I don’t know what to do. I know he’s an addict and can’t help what he’s doing. This is so incredibly painful because I love him more than anything God put on this Earth. He’s my great love. But blaming me for things I didn’t do, twisting things around to fit the fight he wants to fight, and his abusive behavior are leaving me hurt, sad, confused, conflicted and empty. I feel like he’s taken my brain, kicked it around like a soccer ball, and shoved it back into my skull. He’s taken my heart, ripped it out of my chest and stomped the hell out of it. I am broken hearted, and to top it off I’ve been diagnosed in the past as depressed, and I feel like I’m slipping again and am afraid I won’t come out of it this time.

Please help me. I don’t know what to do.

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Denice M

i am after walking away from an addict{alccohol/hash/tablets} i had to,he was getting worse.but now im back in my home {which im going to lose}with 3 addict sons. i am at my wits end with death threats,dealers,police etc. i am jittery,anxious,nervous all the time,looking out window,doors locked. im thinking of just walking away and going somewhere where they wont find me

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Lisa

When you start to feel crazy, when you start to feel depressed, when the addict’s words and actions start to destroy YOU, you have to leave.

As heart breaking as it is, it saved me from driving off a bridge.

Cut off all contact, texts, phone calls, emails, everything you can because it will get nasty before it gets better.

My heart goes out to you

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Kerry

My partner been using more and over the last month ,and its destroying me,seeing him do this to himself,and I feel so helpless, I cant even send him away,from the area,because I haven’t got anyone I’m never felt so low

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Loren

Ive searched the internet daily for answers. This article describes every part of where I am and was.
Its so inspiring and such humbling truths.
I so grateful God allowed me to receive this article. It will be my inspirational print for the rest of my life. Thank so much. It has helped me see the truth.

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Addy

I’ve been with my boyfriend for 3 years now. He started Using drugs for over a year now. He has ptsd. This entire article has made me understand something that I didn’t want to admit to myself. One of those things is that It’s easier to help him since In a way it makes me feel at ease. Giving him money, making sure he eats, making sure he has a form of communication ultimately avoids any type of argument or feeling of guilt on my part. I’ve been pretending to be okay at work and with my family but deep down all I’m thinking about is if he is in jail, if he is with friends on the street, if he is sleeping on a bed, if he is okay or going crazy on drugs again , etc. It gets hard to function at times. Everytime I try to see him( to make sure he is okay) he always makes a scene in public. Strangers always overhear his screams and mumble talk and ask me if I’m okay. I don’t want to be the victim anymore. I understand mental illness and substance abuse is a big issue in society, especially vets with ptsd, and I have nothing but compassion and love for anyone struggling with this. I honestly couldn’t understand why people acted a certain way on the street but I get it now. And I understand how easy it can be to be manipulated into not helping but enabling. I’m going to be printing this article and re reading every day. It’s comforting in a way only the people that are going thru this will understand.

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Toby

I am going through a very similar situation. My bf’s demon is meth though. He has changed completely. Everything that he once valued about me, our home, our relationship, my son, etc no longer seems to matter to him at all. After getting upset because I confronted him about unprotected sex that I caught him having and breaking our bed, hitting me with the headboard, he moved out and has since isolated himself from me completely unless he wants or needs something. He currently stays with his cousin and spends all of his time holed up in a room there with a girl half of his age that admitted to me that she smokes ice. He still has not admitted to this day. I feel so hurt, so confused and so pissed at myself for holding on to how he was and still wanting that man. I know that he is no longer who I fell in love with. This is the hardest thing that I have ever went through and my heart breaks for anyone who loves an addict, as well as addicts themselves. This article was amazing.

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Georgie

Thank you for your words of wisdom. They have come at the right time. We are dealing with our adult son who is homeless and addicted to meth. We are trying to guide him to seek recovery and know it is his decision alone to make. It is hard to set firm boundaries but know it is what’s needed for him to move forward.

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